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The Culture of Bullying
Laura Martocci Ph.D.
Mental health, like bullying before it, is a strawman; a simplistic, reductionist explanation for school shootings. The peer group can, however, read the nuances of youth culture.
The way out of the 'pain loop'—for anyone who is spiraling through stress-chemical reactions to bullying or to chronic pain—lies in addressing the anxiety.
Instead of reinforcing these characterizations (where has that have gotten us?), it is important to understand their limitations.
I began to wonder about victims who might be missing from the conversation—"collaborators" for whom “#metoo” meant “I closed my eyes and made my mind go blank."
New study reports that nearly six percent of students (approximately 1 in 20) admitted to posting something cruel about themselves online.
If we don’t accept our imperfect selves, how much of our tendency to gather "facts," form opinions, and label others brings us to the brink of bullying?
How would a Muslim girl, a transgender boy, a girl suffering from autism (and, of course, a female 'Piggy') influence dynamics in an all-female Lord of the Flies remake?
Witnessing the pain of our children—the shutting down and withdrawal—may reawaken feeling-traps of our own, and cause us to respond in disproportionate ways.
Has this happened to you? You're chatting with a friend, when suddenly, they lean a bit closer and begin to confide in you about a mutual friend...and expect you will take sides?
Para-professionals wield tremendous power over their charges. After reading “My Paraprofessional Was Supposed to Help me; instead, she Bullied me” I went looking for an interview.
Should we discourage live-streaming of violence by punishing online witnesses who do nothing? If not, do we become the bystanders?
“Take a deep breath and walk away” is advice that often translates as “continue to take it.”
Horizontal hostilities occur between groups whom one would expect to have close affinities. "Compromise" becomes the stuff of betrayal, more heinous than straight-out opposition.
18 year old Emily Houser reported her boss for sexual harassment. Her co-workers response? A “F*ck Emily Houser” hate party—complete with a sheet cake expressing that sentiment
"All my friends in New York define themselves by what they hate,” says Lena Dunham’s character, Hannah Horvath, on Girls.
“If humanity cannot live with the dangers and responsibilities inherent in freedom, it will probably turn to authoritarianism.” Erich Fromm, 1941.
Family tables are where we first learn that our silence keeps us out of the line of fire. Yet be wary of addressing the disrespect of the present AND the slights of holidays past.
Social pain—rejection, shame, disrespect—resonates in the "pain center" of the brain, impairing cognitive capacities. This opens the door for violent responses to Trump's rhetoric.
There simply are no answers to our children's questions. What there are, though, are responses—responses that break the collusive silence that tacitly endorses bullying.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me more about how you interrupt bullying tactics—how you prevent folks from being harassed or made to feel incompetent throughout this difficult process
How will athletes respond to public humiliation? To 'penalties in kind' that strip them of respect, playing time, even jobs?
Juxtaposing the emergence of bullying as a contemporary social problem against the emergence of domestic violence as a social problem during the 60s and 70s is instructive.
The Blue movement can ALSO be legitimately viewed as co-opting the “Black Lives Matter” slogan, undermining its power; perverting its sentiment.
Lest you come off as a privileged bully who has no accountability, you must come clean.
Perhaps we model (non-physical) aggressions in our homes, even as we decry the (re)enactment of these behaviors on the playground, in the hallways, on the bus, in the cafeteria.
Think of the Emancipation Proclamation, or Civil Rights Act of 1964: both drew battle lines, and signaled the start of the ‘real fight.’
In this reversal, the true ‘bystanders’ are Trump’s supporters, who rally behind the victim-turned-avenger, standing up to the henchmen of the liberal bullies—the liberal press.
Is the continued under-employment of professional women in a post-recession job market discriminatory, or an instance of institutionalized bullying?
What must it be like to have 'dread'—and perhaps even 'shame' and 'inadequacy'—coded into brain circuitry linked to the urge to use a bathroom?
Sadly, parents might need to decide whether they should drain college savings accounts in order to get their child the professional help they need to get through high school.
Laura Martocci, Ph.D., is a former associate dean of Wagner College, who currently consults on school action plans and social-emotional learning initiatives.